“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him (Luke 15:20). When I was still a teenager, around 14 or 15 years […]
“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him (Luke 15:20).
When I was still a teenager, around 14 or 15 years old, I experienced one of the major turning points of my life.
I was brought up in a Christian home, faithfully attending church since I had been a little kid. I had started serving as a musician and was becoming one of the leaders in the youth ministry. But despite all the blessings God had given me, I was still searching for a sense of belonging, acceptance and approval from other people, especially school mates. I was unconscious to it at the time but it was as if I was ‘looking for love’, not realising how He loved me.
At one point, an incident left me injured, my arm in a cast. I had experienced God’s healing and protection along the way and yet my heart was still in a void. I did not change for the better, but only got worse. My decisions and certainly my actions, were not focusing on God but on other things.
When I look back on that time, it is clear that I had boxed God up and shelved Him, replacing Him with other priorities in my life. I had become selfish. I didn’t care about others. Life was all about satisfying ‘three persons’ – me, myself and I. My heart was not in the right place. At the time I thought I knew what I was doing but I didn’t. I failed to put God first and it was as though His promises and His love were not enough to fill my emptiness.
But over time I realised that I could lose everything. I learned that if God was not my priority then what I had gained – friends, comfortable living, a good life – meant nothing.
I learned this: we have a good, good Father. When I learned that truth, I realised that all I can (and should) do is to run back to where I truly belong, into my heavenly Father’s arms. My soul, spirit, mind and heart could not help but return to Him.
When I realised this, I prayed, asking for His forgiveness and for change. At that moment, He filled the desires of my heart with more than I could ever have asked for. He gave me more than a second chance; he gave me full life, forever. He got me back on track and I started serving passionately again for Him. I had a new perspective that I couldn’t put into words and life has not been the same since. Today, I cannot help but stand in awe of how far He has brought me, despite all my shortcomings, mistakes and selfishness.
Instead of looking for love elsewhere, I know God is Love. Out of His love and His passion for me, I have been able to grow. He is ever faithful and His promises stand firm.
Up to this day, I admit that I fail countless times to put Him first. However, I believe His plan is to me have drawn closer and closer to Him and by the help of His Holy Spirit, to be pursued by my Creator for the rest of my life.
Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray
Read more stories about our partner churches in Malaysia (Sabah) at https://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/malaysia-sabah/